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numbers in Tasratal: thoughts?

From:Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>
Date:Saturday, November 10, 2001, 4:00
I just had a semi-cool idea (it might actually be cool, but I'm never good
at judging these things in the throes of inspiration <G>):

Tasratal (to recap) has a sort of three-way semantic system:

! i- [i] assertion, instantiation
? y- [i"] (barred i, using Kirshenbaum) uncertain, application
. a- [a] statement, abstract/general

These are completely irregular in the particle/function-word system (the
connectives), and almost completely regularly derived morphologically in
the "content" words (the substantives) using the prefixes above.

I was going to create numbers as a third class of words that didn't have
this three-way derivation thing going, when it occurred to me: why do more
work than I have to?

Hence, a new prefix: ka(l)-, for numbers:
(You interpose [l] if the word-to-be-prefixed-to begins with a vowel.)

This is derived from a perfectly boring, humdrum triad:

ikal [ikal]: number, quantity (definite)
ykal [i"kal]: quantity (indefinite), variable
akal [akal]: order, linear

Where does this lead?  Well, certain substantives can take on the ka(l)-
prefix and become humdrum everyday numbers.  For example:

ata [ata] has the meanings world/experience/total, but kalata [kalata]
means infinity.
ceia [tSeja] has the meanings self/past history/identity, but kaceia
[katSeja] means 1.

The choice of *what* triads take this prefix to become numbers will be
conculturally determined, and is not otherwise predictable--so it's
something you can just memorize (and which you can memorize separately
from the actual word-meanings, though it's probably more difficult).

Yoon Ha Lee []

"I don't know what (b^2 - 4ac) equals and I don't care!" said Tom


Muke Tever <alrivera@...>